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Int. J. Middle East Stud. 34 (2002), 423424.

Printed in the United States of America

NOTES AND COMMENTS


LU,
ZOG
A COMMENT ON HAK AN O

N AT I O N A L I S M

AND

K U R D I S H N O TA B L E S I N T H E L AT E O T T O M A N E A R LY
REPUBLICAN ERA

R O B E RT O L S O N

In Nationalism and Kurdish Notables in the Late OttomanEarly Republican Era,


zoglu states that his study revises Olsons argument
(IJMES 33:383409), Hakan O
about the origins of Kurdish nationalism (p. 405, n. 2). He also says, Olsons praiseworthy study is based exclusively on British archives and can also be criticized for
zoglu explains that his revision consists of defining Kurdish nationalthis reason. O
ism as a World War I phenomenon, a view he contests contrary to the views of Wadie
Jwaideh and myself, who characterized it as being defined during the rebellion of
Shaykh Ubeydullah of Nehri in 188081.
First, it must be noted that Jwaideh wrote his dissertation in 1960 and that he used
the term nationalism as it was used forty or fifty years ago, meaning a sense of
community. Jwaideh told me this himself. It is unfortunate that Professor Jwaideh
passed away in March 2001 and is unable to defend his thesis.
zoglus reasoning is troubling in several respects. He states, The Ubeydullah
O
revolt is important not only because it demonstrates the emergence of new political
leadership in Kurdistan, but, more important, because some students of Kurdish nationalism identify the revolt as the origin of the Kurdish nationalist struggle, for the
Shaykh demanded a Kurdish state (either independent or autonomous) governed by
himself (p. 391, n. 27). But when we turn to n. 27, it says, See Olson . . . and
zoglu gives no page numbers. In n. 30, O
zoglu says, In fact, using
Jwaideh, and O
the British reports and memoirs of American missionaries, Jwaideh argues that Ubeydullah wanted an independent Kurdish state. Relying on Jwaideh, Olson places the
Ubeydullah Revolt as the first stage in the emergence of Kurdish nationalism (p.
zoglu consistently misspells Jwaidehs name (he insists
407). It is disconcerting that O
on spelling it Jawaideh throughout his article. Surely when one takes it upon oneself
to revise someone elses thesis, it is not too much to ask that the name of the person
being revised should be spelled correctly. The misspelling also seems to have escaped the readers of the manuscript and IJMES editors, which raises the point that
maybe they had not read Jwaidehs dissertation or my work.
It is correct that I did, and still do, place Shaykh Ubeydullahs rebellion as the first
stage of emerging Kurdish nationalism in Turkey. However, in my The Emergence of
Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion: 18801925, I mention four other
zoglu does not consider my stages two, three, and four as nationalistic,
stages. If O
how can he consider stage one as being nationalistic? I consider Ubeydullahs rebel 2002 Cambridge University Press 0020-7438/02 $9.50

424 Notes and Comments


lion, like the Hamidye (stage two), the Young Turk revolution (stage three), and the
period from 10 August 1920 to the outbreak of Shaykh Saids rebellion in February
1925 (stage four) as periods contributing to the Shaykh Said rebellion (1925). It is
not until the occurrence of the Shaykh Said rebellion itself that I found the necessary
developments to consider it nationalist.
zoglu that Kurdish nationalism was not a cause but, rather, a result
I agree with O
of the Ottoman Empires disintegration (p. 404). I also agree that Kurdish nationalism emerged as a full-fledged political movement only after World War I. It must
zoglu does not provide a date for the ending of the war, which
also be noted that O
complicates the defining of the chronology of the developments contributing to Kurd zoglu concludes his article in an amorphous manner and
ish nationalism after 1918. O
never addresses the Shaykh Said rebellion. Is it possible that he also does not consider
it nationalist?
zoglu also says Olsons praiseworthy study is based exclusively on British arO
chives and can also be criticized for this reason For this reason and this reason alone?
At least, I used one archive very extensively in addition to numerous books in Turkish
zoglu, according to his notes, used
and some in Ottoman, French, and German. O
Ottoman archives for just four notes (nn. 60, 63, 69, 76). He seems to have derived
even these notes from references in Tarik Zafer Tunayas Turkiyede Siyasi Partiler.
Where he quotes the F.O. as his source, he seems to have relied on Jwaidehs or my
book for his references. I would also note that in the 1980s it was impossible to get
permission from Turkish authorities to work in the Basbakanlk Arsivi. This was espe zoglu interviewed Melik Frat, grandson of
cially true for non-Turks. It is true that O
Shaykh Said, and Hzr Ceylan, grandson of Sayyid Abdulkadir, and I did not. How
much these interviews add to the determination as to when Kurdish nationalism
emerged in Turkey, I leave to the readers.
zoglu concludes, We can no longer afford to ignore the subject matter [Kurdish
O
nationalism] in Turkish studies and in Middle East history (p. 405). Where has he
been for the past four decades? It is exciting when young scholars become cognizant
of the significance of periods and developments in history of which they previously
were ignorant or the importance of which they did not assign sufficient value, but to
assume that other scholars had done so, prior to their own awakening, is disconcerting and arrogant.
A R E P LY T O R O B E RT O L S O N

Z O G L U
H AK AN O

I found Robert Olsons letter unprofessional and full of factual errors. There is nothing
in the letter that causes me to reconsider my position. Nor is there any substance that
warrants a full response. I would kindly suggest that Dr. Olson read the article more
carefully.

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